Wrigley "Energy" Gum: Why?

4 years ago

Wrigley recently announced that it will tap into the exploding energy products market by offering up caffeinated chewing gum for adults. Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, aimed at consumers aged 15 to 49, is packed with 40 milligrams of caffeine apiece -- as much as a 16-ounce soda or half-a-cup of coffee.

Wrigley says Alert will prominently display its ingredients and have warning labels. They plan to sell the gum in a unique hexagonal shape about the size of a nickel. It'll also be priced at about twice what regular gum costs. The gum comes in minty or fruity flavors, although Wrigley says it will have a somewhat bitter taste to dissuade those from chewing the gum "for enjoyment."

But seriously, folks, there's no way to stop kids from buying a pack. It's not like gum is illegal… but come to think of it, neither are those high-octane energy drinks.

The gum's launch comes at an auspicious time, when government agencies are focusing more attention than ever on so-called "energy boosting" product. Last week, the city of Chicago began considering a ban on energy drinks containing 180-milligrams or more of caffeine per container (that's the common amount found in energy drinks). The FDA is also investigating reports of people who've died after drinking the beverages.

Obviously Americans crave an energy rush, with caffeine showing up everywhere, from Jelly Belly Sport Beans to Cracker Jacks. But why does Wrigley have to incorporate caffeine, a psychoactive drug, into food that is familiar and easily accessible to children?

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